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What's your favorite Key Lime Pie recipe?

What's your favorite Key Lime Pie recipe? Got a hankering...

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  1. My new favorite recipe is for key lime bars, from CI - really delicious and a huge hit everywhere I take them.

    1. Bon Appetit had one that had a granola crust that was really good. I don't think it's on the epicurious.com but I can look for the issue if you'd like.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I am so bummed....in April I made three incredible key lime pies..same recipe..which is double the amount of eggs, condensed or evap milk and key lime juice....
        I cannot find it..I either printed it and threw it out and didn't save in my file or just didn't save the search anywhere on my history in computer.

        any ideas from anyone let me know..the hands down best.

        1. re: jbasile59

          I found the Bon Appetit recipe. It is a two layer key lime pie (not for traditionalists but if you want a good dessert, this is it). It uses 3 egg yolks in the base.


          1. re: jbasile59

            Could it have been "Key Lime Recipe from Chow by Max La Rivere-Hedrick?

        2. I like the one that Emeril does, and can be found at www.foodtv.com A lot of recipes are not tart enough, but his is...

          1. I lived in Key West and the best I have found is -

            Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie
            9" graham cracker pie crust
            14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
            3 egg yolks (whites not used)
            ½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice
            Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Suzie

              Mine's almost identical to Suzie's only it calls for 2/3 cup of Nellie & Joe's juice and adds 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest...pretty sure that I obtained this recipe from the NY Times, it's our stand-by here in Naples, FL. Recipe calls for a topping of freshly whipped cream but I believe that meringue is more authentic; at least, that's what I've read.

              1. re: Suzie

                Ditto - use fresh key lime juice if I can get it (although they're a pain to get the juice from, so it's usually the bottled stuff), and I top mine with a meringue from the egg whites not used in the pie.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Do you spread the meringue over the pie before baking for 15 minutes? Or do you prebake the pie, then spread on the meringue and brown it? Also, do you prebake the garham cracker crust? Planning on baking one tomorrow--thanks for the tips!

                  1. re: Marge

                    Marge - IIRC (haven't made one in awhile) I believe I put the meringue on the filling, and then bake. Re: pre-baking the pie crust - I just cannot remember! Hopefully someone else can chime in with their favorite method to help you out. My only suggestion would be to make sure you use key lime juice!

                    1. re: Marge

                      Mine ... I bake 15-20 depending on your oven, then I put the meringue on and cook at 400 for another 5 minutes till in browns but everyone has different methods. You can also broil but put the pie on the bottom, not too close, just takes a couple of minutes. Lots of ways to do that. To me the whipped topping is better to me. I enjoy the pie more than the topping...

                      1. re: Marge

                        if you toast a crumb crust, the flavor gets nutty and there's a definite crunch.
                        also, if you brush with egg white before baking, your crust will be sog-proof.

                        but others prefer loose crumbs. I like a tender crumb for a creamy pie. as always, your choice is just a question of personal preference.

                        Yes, cook filling & meringue at the same time, overbaking the custard will toughen the eggs.

                        I'm not a traditionalist: I enjoy a mousse-y Key Lime Pie; i.e., fold whipped cream/egg whites into the thickened milk-lime mixture. egg whites is old-fashioned, I think; it lets the lime really come through, but there's the issue of raw eggs. And cream is so luscious! then, I freeze the pie to get the filling to "stand proud". Some folks add gelatin but I don't like the texture.

                        1. re: meowzebub

                          For an absolute sog proof crust, we like Trader Joe's Old Fashioned Graham Cracker Cookies in the Tub. They pulveize quite well without turning into dust and are able to withstand even the wettest ingredients...


                    2. re: Suzie

                      THATS IT.

                      You can use other key lime juice, but you want a good one. Whipped cream is what I am used to. But this is perfect. There are other recipes, but this is a true FL recipe. Can't get much better. Below, some do add lime zest which is ok and meringue, I have read both which is more traditional. Meringue used to be but now whipped topping is more common. Either or

                      1. re: Suzie

                        I agree. The recipe is right on the back of the bottle of key lime pie. I have learned to use a raspberry sauce with it too. My recipe for the pie and the sauce is posted further down the thread.

                        1. re: Suzie

                          I started using 4 egg yolks for added volume and richness. If I have it available, I will use a little lime zest.

                          I like to garnish mine with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. The raspberry sauce takes it to a whole new level.

                          1. re: mels

                            I second this one. I've made it and everybody loved it (not a citrus person myself). If memory serves this is fairly easy.

                            1. re: KeriT

                              I third this one!! It's easy and everyone loves it...

                          2. My favorite Key lime pie - black bottom. I had this at Caroline's Cafe in Key West. I think it had a short bread cookie crust of sorts and then a ayer of melted chocolate and then a traditional key lime pie filling - served frozen. So good! I wish I had the recipe. I've tried many variations but I can never get it quite right. Any good black bottom key lime pie recipes out there?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Mint Chip

                              Mmm, like key lime pie on a stick, sans stick! :-P

                              1. re: Mint Chip

                                Nellie and Joe's website has a version of Black Bottom Key Lime Pie:


                                1. re: Mint Chip

                                  Go to alicekeywest.com for a great bbkeylime pie recipe

                                2. I like the recipe in Cook's Illustrated -- it always comes out great, and is very easy to make.

                                    1. I like this one from Bon Appetit: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                                      It calls for a vanilla wafer crust, which doesn't make nearly as much sense as the traditional graham cracker crust, but I often use gingersnaps; they're a lovely match with the limes.

                                      1. I second the vote for Joe's Stone Crab recipe. It's the best ever. Be careful with the lime zest -- it can be bitter. You don't want to get any of the white part in. If you can find fresh key limes, use key lime juice but it won't make a lot of difference. Don't use the bottled stuff.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: SusieQ40

                                          "If you can find fresh key limes, use key lime juice but it won't make a lot of difference. Don't use the bottled stuff."
                                          I'm a little confused as to what you're saying here. Are you saying there's no difference between key lime juice and regular (Persian) lime juice? I think there's a world of difference! And if you can't get fresh key limes, bottled is the next best thing. It's not key lime pie without key lime juice - regular lime juice just doesn't cut it for me.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            The recipe I have for key lime cake suggests substituting 50% Persian lime juice and 50% lemon juice for key lime juice if you can't find the key limes - or don't feel like juicing them - they are a pain. At least I finally got a micro plane grater which makes getting the zest much easier!

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              At the Latino supermarket you can also pick up one of these for super cheap!


                                              it makes juicing SO much easier! :



                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I should add - I've never tried the substitution ... but just thought I'd offer it up.

                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                Key lime pie can never be made correctly with Persian limes. I squeeze Key limes when I can get them, but if that isn't possible, I prefer to use the bottled juice than to try to substitute fresh Persian limes and lemons. A fine bladed micro-plane makes removing the thin zest much easier then the usual zester.

                                                I tried to sell Key Lime pie with Persians, but we ended up giving the pies away as customers could tell the difference by smell.

                                                I always use the Fine Cooking Key lime recipe.

                                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                                  Completely agree with you on the key limes vs. Persian limes in both taste and smell (and appearance, since key lime juice has a yellower tint).

                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                  CI's tasters couldn't tell key limes from Persian limes in their pie recipe. I've tried tasting the juice from both kinds with my eyes closed and couldn't tell much difference. But psychologically I prefer the key lime juice and the yellower color.

                                                  The stuff in the bottle (and I used the right brand) tastes vile to me. Apparently some posters agree and others like it just fine.

                                                  1. re: SusieQ40

                                                    Well, I can definitely taste the difference - even if it's bottled key lime juice vs. the fresh Persian limes.

                                                    And I'd just rather have the "vile" bottled key lime juice vs. the Persian limes in my "key lime" pie - at least it's closer to original using the bottled.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      I can tell the difference too. I tried to make a pie once with Persian Limes and it tasted horrible. Never again will I try that.

                                                      1. re: Suzie

                                                        I actually prefer making key lime pie using bottled key lime juice rather than with fresh key limes. I have made it both ways and couldn't tell a difference, so why bother with squeezing all those tiny limes? I use Nellie and Joe's. I have also made key lime pie using Persian limes - bleech. Will never do that again.

                                                        1. re: seconds

                                                          I've tasted/made a bunch (15?) of key lime pies in the last month, and my recommendation is to use the freshly squeeze juice from key limes. The fresh squeezed juice adds a great limey flavor without the acidity that you get from bottled key lime juice (e.g. Nellie's, Kermit's). I used 1 pound of fresh key limes, squeezed using a metal squeezer that I got from a Mexican grocery store for under $5: yielded about 5/8 key lime juice. The metal squeezer filters out most of the seeds, which is great; the remaining seeds you can easily get out by pouring slowly.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                    well I use the bottled stuff. It just isn't worth squeezing 40 key limes which is what you have to do to get 1/2 cup of juice.

                                                    You can use the persian limes and will taste great but it won't taste like a key lime pie.

                                                    You owe it to yourself to do both and keep in mind, this is as easy a pie as your likely to run into.

                                                3. In a similar vein I've made margarita pie using a basic key lime pie recipe but substituting a few ingredients. Instead of a graham cracker crust I use crushed pretzels. Then I add a tablesppon or two of both tequila and triple sec, and lime zest. I freeze it and take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes prior to serving and it's really refreshing and a nice twist on key lime pie. It's always better slightly frozen. It's still delicious and creamy when it's thoroughly thawed but there is something about serving it slightly frozen that makes it better.

                                                  1. I use the Joe's Stone Crab filling recipe as linked to above but use the almond graham cracker crumb crust in this epicurious recipe. The crust is really special.


                                                    Note that I have made key lime pie with fresh and bottled lime juice and I thought the bottled version was just awful. Too concentrated of a taste, unmistably not fresh lime juice.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: celeste

                                                      Yes! Use Fresh... you can get Key Limes really cheap at any Latino Market...


                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                        I like the sour cream and condensed milk recipe from here:

                                                        It has a light cheesecakey like texture. I increase the amount of lime juice from 1/4 to 1/2 cup and I make a graham crackercrust with whipped cream topping. Going to make one this weekend and might try to incorporate these great ideas!

                                                      2. re: celeste

                                                        But if you can't get fresh key limes, the bottled KL juice is at least better than regular lime juice, IMO!

                                                      3. All of these recipes look more or less the same to me, the key things being KL juice and sweetened condensed milk. To me, sweetened condensed milk has a distinct taste, so I don't know how much other ingredients (sour cream, egg yolks) would make the pie taste really different. Is there a way to make KL pie without sweetened condensed milk?

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: xnyorkr

                                                          no, sweetened condensed milk is a key. But you are right xn, they are all basically the same. The one I gave is the original. The others are all great but its just a matter of taste. I like the original but I lived in Key West for years. There are also many, many other key lime goods that you can buy. This is a link for a cute store in KW that has more items than I can list. http://www.keylimeshop.com/

                                                          1. re: xnyorkr

                                                            you can make a custard pie using Key Limes, it would be like a lemon custard pie (lemon meringue pie).

                                                            or are you asking if you can make traditional "Key Lime Pie" without traditional ingredients? no. the SCM reacts with the acidity by thickening as a whole, as opposed to the protein separating from the whey (curdling), which is what would happen to other dairy products.

                                                            1. re: xnyorkr

                                                              If you are looking for authenticity, use the sweetened condensed milk. Back in the day, the Florida keys didn't have electricity so they made key lime pie with sweetened condensed milk.

                                                              That having been said, I'm sure these other recipes are wonderful.

                                                              Certainly a store bought graham cracker shell is not going to be as good as a fresh made one. It makes sense that fresh key lime juice would make a better product than bottled juice.

                                                              I can assure you that there is a big difference between persian lime juice and key limes juice, the key lime juice is actually more bitter but that has an appeal all its own (believe it or not).

                                                              Personally, I find it somehow obscenely satisfying that it takes 10 minutes to stir the ingredients together and pour into a pre-made pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. I have a great pie in 2 hours. And I mean guests raving about it. It has always been a pot luck favorite of mine.

                                                              Cook's Illustrated used persian limes because they didn't want to mess with juicing 40 key limes either.

                                                            2. I've experimented with all of the authentic recipes with egg yolks, but this is my favorite by far. People go crazy for it and it's my most requested thing to bring to a party. Plus you whip it up literally in a few minutes in the food processor. Simple and awesome!!

                                                              BIMINI KEY LIME CHEESECAKE. It's awesome.
                                                              1 prepared graham cracker crust (or make your own)
                                                              1 Pkg Softened Philadelphia cream cheese
                                                              1 can sweetened condensed milk
                                                              1/2 tsp vanilla
                                                              1/2-3/4 cup key lime juice (I prefer closer to 3/4 for tartness)
                                                              Blend in food processor until smooth
                                                              pour in pie shell and refrigerate.
                                                              Top with a dollup of whipped cream before serving

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                                                I assume you mean an 8 oz. package of cream cheese, not the 3 oz size?

                                                                1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                                                  This is the recipe my aunt uses, too. She lives in Florida and swears by the recipe. Yes, it calls for 8 oz. cream cheese, softened.

                                                                  I think it is good, too. I prefer to use a homemade crust that has been baked until golden brown and delicious...it punches up the flavor. But I also like the egg yolk version.

                                                                  1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                                                    so my boyfriend hates cake and LOVES key lime pie and I am looking for the perfect recipe to make for valentine's day as I am tight on a budget right now I can't spend alot on a present but wanted to do something really nice....he likes cheesecake as well and I am allergic to eggs so I am thinking this might be something good to make...I guess I am asking if you think it's really amazing cause that's what I am looking for...

                                                                    1. re: JNUNZMAN

                                                                      Could this also be poured into a ready made grahm pie crust? Would it be enough to fill 2 of those crusts?

                                                                    2. When the ice cream maavens where in full bloom - the contributor formerly known as nooodles gave us a key lime cream cheese ice cream recipe that was amazing. At some point I turned it into a pie and one time played with a chocolate ganache layer underneath and crystalized ginger in the ice cream. Was amazing.


                                                                      1. ok so the CI bars are great I made them in mini muffin pans for bite size pies they were amazing( great for a party ) Barefoot frozen I love BUT I was in Islamorada FL in thr Keys and had FROZEN KEY LIME PIE that was amazing lite and fluffy - whipped cream ? ice cream ? added I don't know but would love a recipe !

                                                                        1. The one from the bottle of Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice. Sometime is put just the filling in custard cups and bake with no crust. Other times I have used pie crust in mini muffin pans and filled with filling to make small tarts. Always top with whipped cream never meringue. Nellie and Joes has a website, check there for recipes.

                                                                          1. RLB's Pie and Pastry Bible recipe. I use her cookie crust, not the graham cracker. And fresh Key lime juice.

                                                                            1. Here are two Key Lime Pie recipes, one traditional and one modern for those that are worried about eating raw eggs. http://www.squidoo.com/Key-Lime-Pie-R...

                                                                              1. Pepe's (for both filling and crust) is one of the best recipes. http://www.pepescafe.net/klp.htm

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mhwong

                                                                                  I've never seen one with beaten egg whites. Is it a light filling? It sounds good.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    I made this one with beaten egg whites from Food & Wine last year. It has a greater proportion of whites to yolks than the recipe mhwong links (3 each vs. 2 whites/4 yolks). The filling had a light, fluffy texture. I decided I wouldn't repeat it, as I actually prefer the denser texture of the recipes made with whole eggs or yolks.


                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      Thanks--I was thinking it might be more like a key lime mousse than a key lime pie. I like the denser texture of regular key lime pie but think a lighter mousse-like one would be good during the hot humid summer (though in the midst of all this snow not easy to think about).

                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                        It was more like chiffon than mousse, I guess. Airy-fluffy, whereas mousse is creamy, if that makes sense. If it were mousse-like, I'd probably have liked it more.

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          Okay, it gets moved from the top of my list of things to do then. I guess if I want key lime mousse pie, I should use my favorite key lime mousse and just fill a pie shell. Thanks.

                                                                                2. Prepared the traditional graham cracker crust "baked for 20 min" key lime (CI) pie recipe for a dinner party yesterday. Topped the entire pie with whipped cream just before serving. I had about 1/3 pie remaining at end of evening and had little room in my refrigerator - so I popped it in the freezer. Just had some frozen for breakfast (yes breakfast!!!) OMG it was amazing!!! like wonderfully creamy icecream - I will make it again but serve it frozen in the future.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: CathyP

                                                                                    My recipe calls for fours. That's how I remember...
                                                                                    4 oz key lime juice
                                                                                    4 egg yolks
                                                                                    sweetened condensed milk
                                                                                    If I have fresh key limes (in SW FL - almost always available), some of the zest.
                                                                                    The Keebler low fat graham crust seems to hold together better than the others.

                                                                                  2. This is the easiest pie you will ever make. It always impresses people. You can use regular lime juice by the way but it won't have the twang of key lime. I used bottled key lime juice because to get half a cup of fresh key lime juice, you would have to juice 40 key limes. I tried it...never again.

                                                                                    KEY LIME PIE

                                                                                    1 EA 9” graham cracker pie shell
                                                                                    1 EA 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
                                                                                    3 EA egg yokes (whites not used)
                                                                                    ½ cup key lime juice (I use Nellie & Joes brand)

                                                                                    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
                                                                                    Combine milk, eggs and lime juice.
                                                                                    Blend until smooth
                                                                                    Pour filling into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
                                                                                    Let cool on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes before refrigerating.
                                                                                    Just before serving, top with whipped cream.


                                                                                    Put lime or orange zest in whipped cream.
                                                                                    Serve with raspberry sauce (recipe below) (I highly recommend this option.)
                                                                                    Triple the recipe and put in spring form pan
                                                                                    Garnish with lime slices or maybe sugared lime slices

                                                                                    Raspberry Sauce:

                                                                                    1 pint raspberries
                                                                                    ¼ cup sugar
                                                                                    3 ounces water
                                                                                    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                                                                    2 tbls lemon juice

                                                                                    In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the raspberries, water, sugar, cream of tartar, and lemon juice. Stir the sauce to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook the sauce until it comes to a slight boil. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and add the contents to a blender. (I ust use an immersion stick blender.) Blend the sauce until smooth. Pass the sauce through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any seeds.
                                                                                    Pour into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.


                                                                                    Add 1-2 tbls of orange or raspberry liqueur.
                                                                                    For thicker sauce, add ½ cup seedless raspberry jam.
                                                                                    (I do both, usually with orange liqueur.)

                                                                                    1. I made a Key Lime mousse from http://poetryoffood.com/amy-caffarel%..., which requires no cooking. I think it makes a nice alternative to a traditional key lime pie (I'm no purist). I tried to make a "blackbottom" with Trader Joe's chocolate cat cookies and butter, but it was still too crumbly. I want something a little chewy, but not too dense. I did find a recipe at http://www.alicekeywest.com/ which I haven't tried yet, but I'm looking for any ideas.

                                                                                      1. There's more than one?
                                                                                        The one on the Nellie & Joe Key lime juice bottle.
                                                                                        When you want it, it's always right.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                          Nellie & Joe's is the one!!!!

                                                                                          See details (Suzie's 2007 post) way up thread..........


                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                            I add a 4th egg yolk to the recipe for volume and richness. I use the bottled stuff and most times I use a preformed crust. It's not near as good as when I make my own graham cracker crust but it only takes 5 minutes to mix the juice, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk then pour it into a shell then bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 10 - 15 minutes and throw it in the fridge. The easiest pie in the world and the 1st one a new cook should learn.

                                                                                          2. The last time I made key lime pie I looked up substitutes online. Several recommended 1/2 persian lime juice + 1/2 lemon juice. I opted to just use the bottled key lime juice, but has anyone ever tried this? Does it work?

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: fleck

                                                                                              Yes, you could use persian lime juice or even lemon juice as long as the acid level is about the same.

                                                                                              America's Test Kitchen didn't have the patience to squeeze fresh key limes so they used persian limes.

                                                                                              Will they taste the same?....no but they will still be very tasty.

                                                                                              1. I use the traditional recipe - but I vary the amount of lime juice, depending on taste and how much it makes the filling set up.

                                                                                                Then I put it into the crust - sometimes graham cracker, sometimes Ritz cracker like they do in the Abacos.

                                                                                                Then typically no baking - yep, raw egg yolks and all.

                                                                                                If it *has* to have a topping, then I put a meringue on it and bake it til just golden.

                                                                                                No green color, no Persian limes, and no whipped cream.

                                                                                                1. Anyone have any idea how "Houstons" i.e.
                                                                                                  Hillstone restaurants make the crust for their
                                                                                                  amazing Key Lime Pie?

                                                                                                  1. The best recipe was the one on the OLD Nellie & Joe's bottle, which did NOT use raw eggs, just sweetened condensed milk and lime juice — NO baking! Mix with a hand mixer at slow speed or by hand. Do NOT use a food processor or high speed, as the filling WILL NOT set up! The curdling effect on the milk is what thickens the filling. As for the shell, it's whatever strikes your fancy, but I use the traditional graham cracker.